Political Profile: Troy Jackson
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -<Jason Parent, Aroostook Partnership: What are your top three priorities if elected, in the coming legislative session?
Troy Jackson, Democrat Maine State Senate District 1: I think I have a track record of delivering for Aroostook County. The top three things, I mean, there’s many, but I definitely want to keep on working on delivering for good paying jobs for Aroostook County. I mean, it’s why I fought so hard to create the tax incentive at Twin Rivers to keep those jobs and why I sponsored the bill to bring the potato processing facility to Washburn. Not only did that create hundreds of jobs, but that actually helped the potato industry with the increase in potato production in Aroostook County, since I believe, the first time, since the 1960′s. UMFK with the visitors center to keep that University going well. And I’m also very proud of saving the Veteran’s homes. And not only was that a great thing to do for the veterans, that’s a lot of jobs that were there for people that were very dedicated. And I’m also, along those same lines, as the jobs, making sure that I’m looking at working with Mapleton right now on a project. Secondly, what I call protecting Mainer’s wallets. Property tax relief, revenue sharing, first time in the six years I’ve been back, we’ve got the 100% revenue sharing, 5% for education, prescription drugs, I created the office of affordable health care. I appointed Chrissy Dagget from right here in Presque Isle to be on it. And doing whatever we can for energy costs and since the early 60′s I’ve been hearing about the transmission line in Aroostook County. I got that done. The PUC should be ruling on this later this month. We have a chance to create all those jobs and creating low cost energy right here in Aroostook County. And the last thing of the three is investing in law enforcement, first responders. You know, the things that have been going on recently are really heart wrenching. We need to do more not only for emergency medical services, but for law enforcement in Aroostook County. I’ve sponsored bills to bring more money to rural hospitals and emergency medical services, but we need to do more in that time. And that too, I’m looking forward to releasing the details of a new bill to do more and have law enforcement and have more emergency medical services support in Aroostook County.
Kelly O’Mara, NewsSource 8:Ok, you have a little less than two and a half minutes for your final two questions. The next one is, what are your thoughts on population growth, or perhaps other strategies, to address our qualified employee shortages here in the region?
Troy Jackson, Democrat Maine State Senate District 1: Like most parents, I want our young people to graduate high school and remain here, but it has been challenging. But I think we had to do everything we can to create those high paying jobs and one of the things that cruicial to do that is to make sure that we have infrastructure here just like roads and bridges, we have high speed, reliable internet, cell service, those are things I’ve been working on with Hugh Kilpatrick in Caribou. Some real creative solutions there. And we’ve got two new cell towers going in in Allagash and St. Francis, I”m working on one in Eagle Lake. We’ve got to do more of that across this County. But we also need to do more for childcare and if you want to have people get into the workforce, they’ve got to have a place to bring their children. I’ve been working with Jordyn Rossignol on a bunch of different things to try and help with child care. I mean that is critical. We need to pay people for the profession that it is and we have to have more availability to put those people to work in our work force.
Jason Parent, Aroostook Partnership: About a minute left for this last question, Senator Jackson and that’s related to Aroostook County’s workforce participation rate which continues to decline and is currently at 54% for residents 16 and older. What do you feel the barriers are to increasing this important metric and what are your ideas to reverse this trend?
Troy Jackson, Democrat Maine State Senate District 1: Well, that’s, maybe a bit misleading because we are an older county, but still and all, the fact of the matter is, for too long, people were told, myself included, that they had to have a traditional four year college degree to survive in this world. And while that is great, the traditional trade schools, the community colleges are places that we really need to invest in because those professions are, as professionals, anything going and they’re as much needed as anything. I think Jobs for Maine Graduates, Roger Felix from Limestone and others with Loring Job Corp. Those are all programs that train people to get up and running, get out into and bring people to Aroostook County and that’s why I say with the community colleges, that’s a real game changer as far as getting people, there’s no barriers now, people getting into professions that for too long unnoticed and unheralded and that’s things that I think we have to continue to work on. Tell the story of what Maine’s doing to help bring these professions into where they really should be.>
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